Weekly Photo Challenge – Neuschwanstein Castle

On our vacation trip in Germany, we visited the Neuschwanstein Castle. We ascended the castle on horse-drawn carriage. We were given a shot of vodka and a wool blanket on our laps before ascending.

The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival Palace on a rugged hill top above the village of Hohenschwangau with an elevation of 800 m (2,620 ft) in southwest Bavaria, Germany.  The fairytale castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II as a retreat and a homage to the king’s favorite composer Richard Wagner.

The construction began in 1869. The estimation for completion was 3 years. In 1884, the King finally moved in, but the palace was still not completed. He only stayed in the palace for 11 nights before his death in 1886.

Had it been completed, the palace would have had more than 200 interior rooms, no more than about 15 rooms and halls were finished. The largest room is the Hall of the Singers, followed by the Throne Hall.

The Hall of Singers was decorated with scenes from Wagner’s opera, which is based on German mythology Lohengrin, the ‘Swan Knight’. Richard Wagner died in 1883 and had never seen the completed castle. The first performance in the Hall of the Singers took place in 1933: A concert commemorating the 50th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s death.

Walt Disney was so inspired by the fairytale architecture of Neuschwanstein that he used it to create Cinderella’s castle in the 1950 animated film, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Cheeky Grins

Being a grandma is such a joyful experience to me. I was with Autumn the first day of her life on September 28, 2017. It was an incredible feeling to hold her in my arms. I had the privilege to help taking care of her the first six out of the eight weeks. Then Mercy, Will, and Autumn were at my house during the Thanksgiving week. I’m looking forward to spending time with them for Christmas.

I try to understand and observe the infant’s vision development of the few months.

  • At birth, babies’ vision is abuzz with all kinds of visual stimulation. While they may look intently at a highly contrasted target, their primary focus is on objects 8 to 10 inches from their face or the distance to parent’s face.

  • During the first months of life, the eyes start working together and vision rapidly improves. Eye-hand coordination begins to develop. By eight weeks, babies begin to more easily focus their eyes on the faces of a parent or other person near them.

  • Babies begin to follow moving objects with their eyes and reach for things at around three months of age.

My observation of Autumn was that she started to follow objects with her eye movements before eight weeks old. She focused on her parents’ eyes and responded to them with her grins in the following photos. Autumn will be three months old when I see her in Christmas. I love her cheeky grins!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Cheeky

Weekly Photo Challenge – Serene

California coast from Monterey Bay area to San Diego is a good place for whale watching. Humpback whales, Blue and Gray whales migrate through the water for feeding. These whales are enormous, yet they eat small sea creatures such as krill, crabs, and shrimps and the California coast has a concentration of them. Bottlenose dolphins are frequently seen in this water also.

We went on a whale watching cruise in November 2015. We didn’t see whales, but we saw many bottlenose dolphins coming up to the surface of water. A few private yachts were floating in place simply for yachting. The calm and blue water reflected the clear sky was serene. Whether we saw the whales or not, it was a refreshing day.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

Weekly Photo Challenge – Peek

When I travel, I love to peek through the airplane windows to see if I could capture some interesting sights. The photos in this post were the aerial views from my recent trips to Portland, Oregon to visit my daughter, son-in-law, and my granddaughter.

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Sunset on the way to California
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Above the rain clouds over the California mountains
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Overlooking Portland area

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peek

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rounded

The theme of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge is “rounded.” I take the literal interpretation to choose the landmark structures, buildings, and the dancing water that we visited in Spain.

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Fountain in Granada
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Bullring, Plaza De Toros in Granada
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Arts & Science Building in Valencia
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Dancing Water Show in Barcelona

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rounded

Weekly Photo Challenge – Glow

I love to take the full moon photos. The first two photos were taken this year, one on April 11, and the other on July 9, 2017.

Even more so, I love to take sunset photos. Hopefully, when the moment presents itself, I also have a camera at hand. The first sunset photo was taken in Huntington Beach, California right after we had a seafood dinner in a December evening, 2016. The last photo of the sunset was taken near my home in southern California in July 2017.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Glow

Weekly Photo Challenge – Scale

Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano, is a massive shield volcano that forms more than 75% of Maui. The western 25% of the island is formed by another volcano, Mauna Kahalawai, also referred to as the Western Maui Mountain. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). From the summit one looks down into a massive depression some 11.25 km (7 mi) across, 3.2 km (2 mi) wide, and nearly 800 m (2,600 ft) deep. The surrounding walls are steep and the interior mostly barren-looking with a scattering of volcanic cones.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haleakal

We drove to the summit of Haleakalā. The drive was pleasant on this cloudy day. The heavy clouds drifted over the island casting shadow in the ocean and on the beaches. We visited the crater and the volcanic area. There was a “hill” made of lava rocks, and a path was made for people like me who walked to the top and say “hi” to you! I’m now looking at the scale of the hill and me.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale